The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has said that its budget of 7000 endowment claims for 2005 is massively below reality, the actual level in fact is more likely to be 22000.
This means that it will face a shortfall in 2006.
The compensation scheme is funded through contributions from financial services companies, and is available to those who have endowment policies sold to them by IFA's that have subsequently gone bust.
This is the second year in succession that the scheme has underestimated the number of claims. In 2004 it had to ask the investment industry for an extra £15M, to cover compensation above the original budget of £33M.
It seems that not all the "collapses" of IFA's are as clear cut, as one might expect in an industry that is meant to domonstrate probity and integrity.
Berry Birch & Noble Financial Services ceased trading last year, and its assets were transferred to the almost identically named Berry Birch & Noble Financial Planning.
The firm's liabilities, including any compensation due to investors mis-sold products such as high risk income bonds, have been left with the defunct firm. This means that the FSCS have to pick up the "tab".
Loretta Minghella, FSCS chief executive, said:
"New endowment claims have been received at unprecedented levels, way beyond our expectations. As ever the challenge for FSCS is to strike the right balance between providing an efficient and timely service to consumers with our responsibility to the industry to keep costs under control."
I don't know why they are so surprised at the level of claims, these endowment products simply do not work.
The best solution would be for the life assurance industry to underwrite these worthless, useless, products.